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Thread: Cat determined not to like us :(

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    Cat determined not to like us :(

    We recently added a kitty, and I guess the biggest mistake was on my part in terms of adopting sight unseen. Phinehas has been so lonely since Malachi passed that I wanted to get him a companion. Orientals really love to cuddle with other orientals, so I figured I'd adopt an older retired kitty much like Phinehas. I asked all the questions I thought were relevant (such as does the cat like other cats: I have a 2 year old daughter - will the cat be good with her? What is her personality like? What does she eat? etc). The woman I adopted from thought it would work out ok since the only thing about her was that she's dominant with other female cats, so I went with it.
    Unfortunately, when we got the cat home and I put her in the "cat room" to adjust, she went and hid behind the washer and dryer and simply wouldn't come out. My other cats couldn't even fit back behind the washer and dryer, so that was a shocker to me. I guess I should have put her in a bathroom where there's nowhere to hide...but hindsight is always 20/20. It's been over one month now - and I have never had a cat like this...it's almost as if she's feral and doesn't want to be around people...which is just very odd to me since she used to show. I've emailed her cat meowmie a few times about this and she still seems to think that she'll warm up, but I'm not so sure. I know she's adjusted and is comfortable in the cat room - she plays with the toys, scratches on the post, uses her litterbox and lies in the beds. Anytime someone walks by or she suspects someone may come in the room - I can hear her jump down from the bed on the washer and she immediately hides...so we haven't even been able to try and get her used to us. I'm so frustrated and disappointed.
    I had started letting Phinehas in the laundry room since there was no progress being made at all and thought maybe this would be the only way to introduce the cats. It actually seemed to go ok. I caught a glimpse of her lying in one of the beds next to Phinehas, but as soon as she saw me, she freaked and hid. Ever since, she even stays behind the washer and dryer when Phinehas is in the room. I'm at a loss, so I just simply opened the door to the laundry room today since my husband was getting annoyed about having the room closed all the time and a litterbox out by the couch. I moved Phinehas's litter box back into the laundry room next to Freya's and figured if I'm not seeing the cat in the laundry room - why not give her more run of the house and not see her that way...but let Phinehas be more comfortable? She did come out so I have seen her a couple times today, but she runs and hides as soon as she sees me. She seems fine with Phinehas though, so I guess that's something. I'm just so upset that I completely picked the wrong cat for our family. I had hoped to have a cat I could actually see and hold and one that would cuddle with Phinehas and get along with my baby girl - but it just doesn't seem like that's the type of cat she is.

    Sorry, I just had to rant a little. I'm wondering how long I wait until I throw in the towel and admit to failure to her cat meowmie and ask her to take the cat back. I want her to be happy living with us, but running and hiding just doesn't seem like a good life when she was a cuddler with her other meowmie who slept on her bed at night. Totally different cat here.

  2. #2
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    I would keep trying, I know people who have waited much longer, and spent months sitting near where a kitty was hiding and read a book, talked aloud, etc and when the kitty finally emerged, it was the most rewarding experience ever. However, she may not ever be a cuddled. How was she in her previous home?
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
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    Mar 2002
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    Santa Clara, CA
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    Well in my opinion you're doing everything right. Some cats just take a lot longer to adjust than others. I remember you also saying that she lived with the woman ever since she was a kitten so this may also be a huge factor of why she's so shy around other people. The woman probably didn't have many visitors and even though she was a show cat and around people at shows, she was in a cage most of the time. Remember my Ziggy. Well even though I adopted her as a kitten, she wasn't a very loving and friendly kitten. She was a loner most of the time. It took her several years before she even wanted to come to me for pets and scritches. Now she can't get enough of me. She would also freak out if people came over and would run and hide. If I did bring her out to people, she would be so nervous she would growl and hiss like she was a feral cat. She was exposed to 2 roommates which she was fine with but they could never touch her. She will now let my live-in boyfriend pet her when he's in bed and she jumps in between us. This was a major break through for her. I would say give her at least another month with allowing her to roam throughout your home. At least she's getting along well with Phinehas. Good luck.
    Owned by Sky, Pearl, Ziggy Stardust, Alani, Blaze, Colby, Finnegan, and Summer.


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  4. #4
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    Thanks Karen and Tracey. I really do want her to like us and our home here and for her to be happy, so I will give it another month now that I've let her out. For the past month, I went into the "cat room" and I read 3 novels out loud - hoping to get her used to my voice. I've left toys and treats in the room, but with her being squished behind the washer and dryer, I figured it was time to just open up the door since that really was to keep the kitties apart until she adjusted. She she wasn't adjusting to me, I just figured maybe opening the door would be better since she seemed ok with Phinehas when I started simply letting him in the room. Since she seems ok with Phinehas, we'll see if he can coax her out to be more comfortable. I am a little worried with how big our house is, I'll just never see her - but we'll see.

    Karen, in her previous home she seemed to be a lap cat with her original meowmie. She did say that the cat liked toys and treats and attention...but not overly in your face about it. She mentioned that she wasn't overly fond of having her nails trimmed, but her meowmie usually got around to that when she was sleeping in her lap. She was a protective mother of her litters of kittens, but was fine with her meowmie handling them. Her meowmie seemed to think that the kitty would warm up to Sylvia...since that was a concern I had. Phinehas is extremely good with Sylvia and Sylvia is rather good with animals, but I know toddlers in general can be a bit overwhelming if kitties aren't used to them.

    Thanks for the POV, Tracey - I had forgotten that about Ziggy and you're right about maybe not being exposed to other people in the home. I don't know how many visitors her meowmie would have...but that's certainly possible. This is a new and strange change for her too, especially since she's been in one place all her life and suddenly she's uprooted and relocated to someplace new. I was worried about just letting her loose in the house, but hopefully that was the right thing to do. I'll keep you all posted.

    Thanks again for the support!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Did you say how old she was? Cats also grieve for their former owners. I tried to rehome RB Maggie years back and she lasted a week with the other lady. i had never heard of cat grieving until that time. Later Maggie lived mother, but Maggie knew mother.

    Callie, my bedroom feral, doesn't like me. I can give her scritches from a distance. Crazy I know.

    Keep at it. At least she is out and working with Phinehas.
    Anne
    Meowmie to Mr. Spunky, Samwise, Lady Jane, Bob, and Callie.





    RIP Emily (Oct 8, 2013), Rose (Sept 24, 2001), Maggie (Fall 2003)

  6. #6
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    Sep 2005
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    Her entire world has been turned upside down. New sights, new smells, new routines, new people... it can be very overwhelming for kitties... and some kitties are a LOT more sensitive to change than others.

    My first piece of advice for you is to look into getting a Feliway diffuser for the laundry room (or whichever room she is kept in/hangs out in the most). It emits feline phermones that have a calming effect on them.

    And some cats will just always be timid and won't come out around people... and that's ok.

    It may take awhile... when I brought my feral kitty home, I pretty much ignored her for the first month or two and did not try interacting with her. I let her come out on her own terms and do what she was comfortable with doing. Slowly but surely she would start coming out when I was awake in my room... but if I stood up, moved, turned to look at her, etc, she'd run right back into the closet to hide. Eventually she started sleeping with me, and not running away and finally let me pet her... and from there we were inseparable.

    I hope I'm understanding correctly in the sense that you have her confined to ONE room and not the run of the house? Allowing them access to an entire house right away can be extremely overwhelming, so sometimes keeping them confined to just one room for awhile will help and then slowly allowing them out to explore other areas.

    So... TL;DR: It can take some time for her to warm up. Try using a Feliway diffuser (can find on amazon or at local pet stores). Don't force affection; let her come around on her terms, not yours.

    I know know frustrating it can be. Just be consistent and persistent, but most importantly... don't give up!

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  7. #7
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    As Jessika said, this is a huge change for Phinehas. She has lost the only human she ever knew, along with her home, routines, and so on. Lots of grieving as well a a shock - hey, no one asked HER if she wanted this change! She may not realize she CAN trust humans in general. So that trust needs to build and develop.

    I also agree with using the Feliway, though others on here have found the diffuser is a waste, you need the pheronomes to be confined more. One room, and work to getting her a collar with a sleeve and spraying on the sleeve (never directly spray the cat) so the calming sense is always around her.

    You can also try sitting with some really yummy treats to share with her and other cats. Salmon is a great one. Let her see the other cats interacting with you in a positive way, with no 'hurt' happening.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
    I also agree with using the Feliway, though others on here have found the diffuser is a waste, you need the pheronomes to be confined more. One room, and work to getting her a collar with a sleeve and spraying on the sleeve (never directly spray the cat) so the calming sense is always around her.
    The diffusers are not meant for a large area, certainly not for the whole house, hence why I suggested to use it in the room she is being confined in.

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  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the points of view and experiences. I sure hope she does warm up to us. We do have the diffuser in the room where we initially had her when we brought her home. After we hadn't made any progress after about a month, I finally opened the door to the "cat room" to the rest of the house. This seems to be better because I have actually seen her a few times now and I even snuck in a quick petting this morning when I found her sitting on a chair. She tolerated it for a few seconds and then took off, but that was some progress! She still pretty much just runs and hides when anybody gets near her, but hopefully she'll warm up. She and Phinehas seem perfectly fine together, but she's not quite the "kitty buddy" that I was looking for for Phinehas. Maybe her personality will come out a little more as she (hopefully) warms up to us and becomes part of our family!

  10. #10
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    Good to hear! Progress is nice to hear, and it will surely get better as time goes on!
    I've Been Frosted

  11. #11
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    That's progress! Great news! It sounds like she is taking little steps here. Sometimes it can take a very long time, but it will be so worth it, time so well spent.

    Keep on keeping on, all! (What is the new kitty's name, by the way?)

    Love and good wishes. God bless.

    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  12. #12
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    Aug 2004
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    Pat I believe her name is Freya. She is a stunning girl!

    Progress is great!

    One thing you might try - if you have a wand or string toy, get Phineas playing with it. Freya may not join in but she will sure be curious, I bet!
    "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -- Milton Berle

  13. #13
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    I agree, small steps are progress...so hopefully she'll eventually one-day open up to us and not be so scared as to run away every time someone gets near. I was able to pet her again this morning when she was sitting in the same chair. It seems when it's just me and it's quiet, I'm able to get close and sneak a petting in before she runs off. I have seen her out and about a lot though...so hopefully she's just getting used to the territory, sounds and people.

    I discovered she is a jumper. Phinehas is such a good cat, he doesn't get up on anything but our washer/dryer (I have cat beds there) and the couch and our bed. Freya, on the other hand...is a jumper. I've seen her jump up on our entertainment center (good thing hubster didn't see that! ), up onto dressers, high tables...even the shelf near the ceiling in the laundry room!

    I'm definitely trying to tempt her with treats and toys. Phinehas doesn't mind the extra treats and toy time, I'm sure!

    I was able to capture a picture of Freya today on the couch like the princess she is!
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  14. #14
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    Oh, Freya! What a pretty girl you are!

    So nice to "see" you and learn about your ongoing adjustment to your new FURREVER home and family.

    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  15. #15
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    Ooh, any cat trees at your house? Sounds like she might enjoy a high (and cat-sanctioned) perch to watch everything from!
    I've Been Frosted

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